Wednesday, 8 July 2015
The Command Tank
This photograph appears to be the same as that at p90 of David Fletcher's Mechanised Force.
Vickers had wanted to take some commercial advantage from the British trend to three man, rather than two man machines. Forbidden by the War Office from foreign sales of the Mark VI light tank, they came up with a private venture called the command tank. This allowed for a third crew member who was able to undertake command duties. The hope was to sell three man tanks as section and unit commanders' tanks in units with two man machines. Bigger than it might appear from the photograph, the prototype was developed in 1937. Moving the engine and transmission forward created room for a larger turret mounting Vickers own semi automatic 40mm gun. Suspension had elements of the light tank but strengthened to cope with the additional weight. The turret was similar to that of 6 tonner. Vickers had the tank on test in Belgium in February 1938 when the War Office added it to the Secret List because it had so many features of the Mark VIB. After protests it was released again in July and Vickers even had discussions about building the tank in Belgium for sale to foreign customers but it came to nothing.
Den Bels do a resin model of this in 1/72. There is also a Frontline Wargaming model which I haven't seen which might be of this vehicle.
The information from this post has been taken from David Fletcher's book Mechanised Force.